5 Ways to Avoid Garden Burnout

5 Ways to Avoid Garden Burnout

5 Ways to Avoid Garden Burnout

As the seed catalogs flood our mailboxes, glorious thoughts of beautifully colored fruits and vegetables surround our minds.  We picture ourselves strolling through weedless gardens, as the birds sing, plucking the fruit of our labor, with just a glow of perspiration on our face!  Psht.  The reality of the garden is much different that the fantasy described above.  The truth is that manure must be spread, seedlings die, bugs come, equipment breaks and tools get lost, and the WEEDS.  Can anyone relate??  Let’s get real and discuss “5 Ways to Avoid Garden Burnout”!

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Over my many years of gardening, I’ve grown many types of gardens in many venues….in the city, in a suburb and in the country.   Some years I enjoyed my garden immensely, other years not so much.  What made the difference between an enjoyable gardening year and a year of garden burnout? 

How can we avoid garden burnout?

grean beans

1.  Don’t plant too much 

This is my greatest weakness.  I am always worried that weather or pestilence will kill my plants, so I over-plant to compensate for loss.  The problem for me is that I don’t have much loss, and so I have way more produce than I need.  So, I can and dehydrate all that is possible, I give to my neighbors and the food pantry and STILL, I have more produce than I know what to do with.  This leaves me with a couple of choices: let it rot or abuse myself by staying up all hours of the night canning.  Neither choice is a good one.  The solution is to plant less and stop worrying about loss.  Loss happens, I need to accept that.  So be it.  Here is a great little calculator to help you decide how much you need for your family!

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2.  Don’t plant food that you and your family don’t really like 

OK, tell me that I’m not the only one who does this!  You’re thumbing through that seed catalog and you see beautiful golden beets, wow, aren’t they pretty?  Your family has never liked beets in the past, but they just might like these!  You’ll come up with new and different ways to prepare them and you’re just convinced that they will love them!!!  You know what happens, right?  You plant the beets, you harvest the beets, you cook and serve the beets and what does your ungrateful family say?  “Bleck!  We hate beets!”.  Yeah, don’t go there.  Only plant food that you are sure they will eat.

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3.  Don’t plant food that you don’t have room for 

Before planting that watermelon or cantaloupe, consider how much room the vines will need to run.  Otherwise, you’ll forever be rounding up all the vines and trying to get them to stay inside the garden bed.  This doesn’t make for a fun summer, as the lawn mower person doesn’t recognize fruit and just runs them all over.  Yes, I know this from repeated experience.


4.  Don’t plant food that doesn’t grow well in your area or that you simply don’t have the right conditions for 

No matter how badly you want tomatoes from your shady garden, you’re probably not going to get them.  Be realistic.  Tomatoes and peppers demand full sun, and will not produce otherwise.  Spend some time looking at the direction your garden faces, as well as what obstacles to the sun are present.  

5.  Don’t plant food for the wrong reasons 

Does anyone else have that relative that asks you to grow things for them, but then never comes and pick them?  I don’t mind “sharing” a bit of space in my garden for someone who doesn’t have one, but if there’s a pattern of “garden abuse”, don’t do it!

But what about those weeds?!  I’ve got some “sage” advice for you right here to control those weeds organically!

Plant what YOU want, what YOU need and what YOU’LL enjoy!  Life is too short not to enjoy your garden!

5 Ways to Avoid Garden Burnout

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Comments (3)

  • Kathi Reply

    That’s all very good advice, Kelly! Thanks!

    February 8, 2018 at 1:27 am
    • Holly Whiteside Reply

      Good suggestions. I’d like to add another. I’m working a community garden where previous gardeners “gave it up” in July, and i think the main reason was that the weeds got out of control and they became overwhelmed. So I would say one of the main things you need to do to avoid burnout is to know weed strategies and come up with a good plan for reducing weed pressure, right from the start. For example, we tarp several weeks before starting a new bed, use no-till methods, make sure our compost gets hot so we aren’t adding weed seeds to the bed, use “pre-emerging” techniques, transplant some crops, dig out the whole root if it is dandelion, burdock, thistle, or other tap root, and on whatever weeds we have left we use a stirrup hoe or a wire weeder which are several times faster than hand weeding. Yes, that’s a lot of strategies, but we have very little weed pressure now and spend only a couple hours a week weeding, even in late summer. The garden looks very good, and we see the vegetables, not the weeds.

      September 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm
      • Kelly Reply

        Excellent suggestions, Holly!

        September 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm

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